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Crop Biotech Update

Kn1 Gene Overexpression Improves Transformation Efficiencies of Citrus Cultivars

March 16, 2016

The maize kn1 gene encodes a transcription factor protein involved in the establishment and maintenance of plant meristems. The gene has also been used to improve shoot regeneration and transformation in tobacco and other crops. A team from the University of Connecticut, led by Wei Hu, studied the effects of kn1 gene on the genetic transformation efficiencies of six citrus genotypes.

Expression of the kn1 gene enhances transformation efficiencies by up to 15-times compared to a control vector and by up to 11-fold, relative to the highest efficiencies reported for these citrus genotypes. Stable incorporations of T-DNA into the citrus genome have also been confirmed. The majority of kn1 over-expressing citrus plants grew and developed normally at young seedling stages, similar to those of the wild type plants.

With six genotypes of citrus tested, including a difficult to transform cultivar, the results demonstrate that the kn1 gene may provide an effective molecular tool to enhance genetic transformation efficiencies of various citrus varieties.

For more on the study, read the full article on Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture.